December 18, 2014

Best Copywriting Courses for Small Business Owners

Best Copywriting Courses

Image Courtesy of Stuart Miles – freedigitalphotos.net

Not every small business owner can fit a copywriter or a marketing firm into their budget.  Sometimes, the best way to attack your copywriting or marketing writing project is to just do it yourself. Of course, that’s easier said than done.

If you find yourself in this position, you know, where you MUST have your marketing message written in copy so that it “magically” achieves the results a copywriter’s words would, you may want to try taking a course.  The following is a list, in no particular order, of the best copywriting courses that come highly recommended by my fellow copywriters.  They differ in price and quality, but they are all very good, I am given to understand.

 
Courses

John Carlton
Freelance Mastery Course
John Carlton Freelance Course | Marketing Rebel

Simple Writing System
Simple Writing System – John Carlton

Gary BencivengaRetirement Seminar
Bencivenga 100 Seminar

AWAI
AWAI Product Catalog
Accelerated Program for Six-Figure Copywriting
The Masters Program for Six-Figure Copywriting
Dan Kennedy’s Business of Copywriting Academy

Clayton Makepeace
The Ultimate Desktop Copy Coach
Contact | MakepeaceTotalPackage.com

Mike Humphreys
Secrets of Marketing Your Copy
Secrets of Marketing Your Copy – Flatten Your Copywriting Business Growing Pains To Practically Nil!

Brian McLeod/David Garfinkel
Fast Effective Copy
Fast, Effective Sales Copy with David Garfinkel & Brian McLeod

Paul Hancox
Super Power Copy
SuperPowerCopy.com – Video Copywriting Course With ‘Live’ Writing Examples

Bob Bly
Killer Copywriting Secrets :: Listen to these copywriting secrets and write killer, control-beating copy instantly

Marcia Yudkin
Become a Marketing Consultant Months From Now | Enjoy Freedom, Fulfillment, High Earnings

Daniel Levis
Effortless Influence and other courses
Resource Library | Info-Marketer’s Blog

Bob Serling
Power Copywriting For The Internet by Bob Serling

Here’s a Tip: If you want to tell whether the quality of your writing has changed as a result of taking the course, write something now – a brochure, a website home page, an about page, etc.  Then, put it away.  Take a copywriting or marketing writing course.  Then write about the same type of piece again.  I guarantee you will see a difference.

And for my readers who are abroad, you may want to check out these writing programs:

http://www.inst.org/copy/become.htm (UK)

 

http://www.opencolleges.edu.au/courses/editing-proofreading. (Australia)

http://www.sawriterscollege.co.za/shop/SPECIALIST+COURSES/Copywriting.html (South Africa)

P.S. Stacey Mathis Copywriting/Stacey Mathis is not an affiliate of any of the above-mentioned courses.  In the interest of full disclosure, I am an affiliate of Bob Bly and AWAI, but not for these particular courses.

22 Copywriting Quotes to Help Inspire Your Most Compelling Message Yet

 

Copywriting Quotes

Small business owners, marketers and copywriters spend a lot of time working on the right marketing message to promote their brands, products and services.  Over the years, I have heard a number of sayings and quotes from some great thinkers that relate to copywriting that inspire me and remind what to do and what not to do.  Here are 22 quotes that I am sure will help those of you who need a basic understanding of copywriting and the process of marketing writing as it relates to what you’re selling.

Take a look:

1. “You can do homework from now until doomsday, but you will never win fame and fortune unless you also invent big ideas. It takes a big idea to attract the attention of consumers and get them to buy your product. Unless your advertising contains a big idea, it will pass like a ship in the night.” – David Ogilvy

2. “There is no such thing as too long copy. Only too boring.” – Dan Kennedy

3. “Sell a good night’s sleep – not the mattress.” – Instructor at Academy of Art University, Advertising Program

4. “Great ideas need landing gear as well as wings.”- C. D. Jackson

5. “When people go to a web page, the thing that they want more than anything else is instant clarity.” – Ken McCarthy

6. “I’ve learned that any fool can write a bad ad, but that it takes a real genius to keep his hands off a good one.” – Leo Burnett

7. “Good copy can’t be written with tongue in cheek, written just for a living. You’ve got to believe in the product.” – David Ogilvy

8. “An ad is finished only when you no longer can find a single element to remove.” – Robert Fleege

9. “Copy is like a skirt, it should be short enough to keep it interesting but long enough to cover the subject.” - Unknown

10. “The most important thing is a hungry market not a brilliant burger.”- Gary Halbert

11. “I have always believed that writing advertisements is the second most profitable form of writing. The first, of course, is ransom notes.” – Philip Dusenberry

12. “Nobody reads ads. People read what interests them. Sometimes it’s an ad.” – Howard Gossage

13. “An advertising agency is 85 percent confusion and 15 percent commission.” Fred Allen

14. “Advertising is like learning – a little is a dangerous thing. If a man has not the pluck to keep on advertising, all the money he has already spent is lost.” – P.T. Barnum

15. “We have become so accustomed to hearing everyone claim that his product is the best in the world, or the cheapest, that we take all such statements with a grain of salt.” – Robert Collier

16. “Advertising is salesmanship mass produced. No one would bother to use advertising if he could talk to all his prospects face-to-face. But he can’t.” – Morris Hite

17. “Advertising is Salesmanship in Print.” – John E. Kennedy

18. “The consumer isn’t a moron; she is your wife. You insult her intelligence if you assume that a mere slogan and a few vapid adjectives will persuade her to buy anything.” – David Ogilvy

19. “Poor copy cannot overcome faults or gaps in dealer distribution; it cannot even cash in on the finest dealer setups. But good copy can, and does, surmount many dealer difficulties, making them secondary, and selling in spite of them.” – Victor Schwab

20. “The more vivid the picture the words paint in your mind when you read them, the greater the readership, the greater the response.” – Michel Fortin

21. “The client will always pick the concept that you like the least, so never present any concepts you don’t like” – Robert Fleege

22. “Every product has a unique personality and it is your job to find it.”  – Joe Sugarman

 

 

Stacey

 

P.S. What are some of your favorite copywriting quotes?

Beat Writer’s Block: Get Back to Your Writing Roots by Returning to Basics

Writer's BlockGuest Post by Samantha Stainsburry

Writing is a task that can be just as much fun as reading a book or discovering new information in the news. Many professional writers seem to have the easiest job in the world, but once they hit that brick wall of writer’s block, it can also become one of the most frustrating jobs in the world. If you are suffering from writer’s block, here are some techniques that may help you break through the wall and reach your creativity on the other side.

Find a New Creative Outlet

Being creative with words is a great thing, but after awhile it can limit your mindset to creative ideas that can only be expressed in writing. Instead of focusing only on the written word, find another creative outlet for some of your ideas. This can be through painting, sketching, completing crafts or making videos. Once your creativity is flowing again, you’ll find it easier to jump back into writing.

Get Your Ideas Down

If your writer’s block is based on a specific project, then writing something else could be the answer. You don’t have to spend a long time fleshing out your ideas, but if you just take one of your stylish leather notebooks or your tablet to a public place and just start writing down anything that strikes your fancy, you are clearing room in your mind to refocus on your current project. Save your words, phrases and ideas from this exercise to use as inspiration at a later date.  For some lovely leather notebooks that can be used, check out RusticoLeather.com.

Try Writing Exercises

These exercises are usually the first suggestions to beat writer’s block, but some writers tend to resist them. Writing exercises range from pre-written story prompts to scheduled time for free writing. It doesn’t matter what you choose, as long as you are writing. You can even choose to creatively interpret your otherwise mundane day for your journal, as long as you keep your writing muscles moving.

Change Your Schedule

If you have been written everyday at 3PM for the past five years, a change in your schedule might help you find a new stream of creativity for your writing. Although a change in schedule may seem minimal, writing early in the morning or late at night puts your brain in a different space, which may be more open to wacky ideas or directions you never thought you would otherwise take your characters. It can be an eye-opener to many who are strapped to a rigid writing schedule.

Writer’s block can be hard to overcome, but trying a few of these suggestions can help you get over the wall and back into the zone again.

_____________________

Samantha Stainsburry is a freelance blogger from Charlottesville, VA.  In her free time she enjoys hiking, reading, and finding new music among other things.

Using Hype in Ad and Marketing Copy Alienates Customers: Use these Alternative Copywriting Techniques (Infographic)

Alternative Copywriting Techniques

Compliments of Stuart Miles/Freedigitalphotos.net

By now, you know, if I can say it short and sweet by sharing a helpful infographic, I will. So, you know how copywriters are always railing against using hype in marketing and ad copy? This infographic provides alternatives for all of you who are tempted to apply that customer-alienating tactic. Yeah, you can promote your company, your brand or your cause without the BS.


The Top 7 No-Hype Copywriting Techniques created by No-Hype Copywriting Telesummit

38 Great Copywriting and Advertising Quotes to Inspire You

quotation-marksSometimes the best way to explain copywriting techniques and challenges is to sum them up. This also makes for engaging bits of wisdom.  Here are 38 quotes that inspire even the most experienced copywriters – some from the celebrated masters, others from the lesser known virtuosos.
1.  “Imagination is one of the last remaining legal means you have to gain an unfair advantage over your competition.” Ed McCabe

 

2. “If writers write, do copywriters copy? Yes.” Source Unknown

3. “The lead either forges an instant connection with the reader, or the package fails.” Robert Bly

4. “The real advertising writer who is after results makes the reader want something – and then provides what the reader will consider a good excuse for buying it.” Clyde Bedell

5.  “A copywriter should have ‘an understanding of people, an insight into them, a sympathy toward them.” George Gribbin

6. “The most powerful element in advertising is the truth.” William Bernbach

7. “There are two motives to action: self-interest and fear.” Napoleon Bonaparte

8. “Doing business without advertising is like winking at a girl in the dark. You know what you are doing, but nobody else does.” Stuart H. Britt

9. “Make your copy straightforward to read, understand and use. Use easy words; those that are used for everyday speech. Use phrases that are not too imprecise and very understandable. Do not be too stuffy; remove pompous words and substitute them with plain words. Minimize complicated gimmicks and constructions. If you can’t give the data directly and briefly, you must consider writing the copy again.” Jay Abraham

10. “Don’t confuse visibility with credibility.” Harvey Mackay

11. “Every advertisement must be considered as a contribution to the complex symbol which is the brand image.” David Ogilvy

12. “People aren’t interested in you. They’re interested in themselves.” Dale Carnegie

13. “When dealing with people, remember you are not dealing with creatures of logic, but creatures of emotion.” Dale Carnegie

14. “Sometimes the most important job advertising can do, is to clarify the obvious.” Jay Chiat

15. “How dismal is progress without publicity.” Theodore Dreiser

16. “We don’t want to be something for everybody, we want to be everything for some people.”
Carlos Ghosn

17. “People don’t read advertising, they read what interests them. Sometimes, it’s an ad.” Howard Gossage

18. “Copy is a direct conversation with the consumer.” Shirley Polykoff

19. “You must make the product interesting, not just make the ad different. And that’s what too many of the copywriters in the U.S. today don’t yet understand.” Rosser Reeves

20. “There is no such thing as ‘soft sell’ and ‘hard sell.’ There is only ‘smart sell’ and ‘stupid sell’.”
Charles Browder

21. “If you can’t turn yourself into a consumer, you probably shouldn’t be in the advertising business at all.” Leo Burnett

22. “Creativity can solve almost any problem.” George Lois

23. “I don’t know how to speak to everybody, only to somebody.” Howard Gossage

24. “Consumers do not buy products. They buy product benefits.” David Ogilvy

25. “The secret of all true persuasion is to induce the person to persuade himself.” Harry Overstreet

26. “The mystery of writing advertisements consists mainly in saying in a few plain words exactly what it is desired to say, precisely as it would be written in a letter or told to an acquaintance.” George P. Rowell

27. “Resist the usual.” Raymond Rubicam

28. “Many a small thing has been made large by the right kind of advertising.” Mark Twain

29. “It is always better to have a few people read your advertisement and buy your product than to have a lot of them read it and do nothing about it.” Walter Weir

30. “In writing good advertising it is necessary to put a mood into words and to transfer that mood to the reader.” Helen Woodward

31. “On the average, five times as many people read the headlines as read the body copy.”
David Ogilvy

32. “It follows that unless your headline sells your product, you have wasted 90 percent of your money…” David Ogilvy

33. “Mirror the reader to himself and then show him afterward how your product fits his needs.”
Raymond Rubicam

34. “The man who stops advertising to save money is like the man who stops the clock to save time.’ Thomas Jefferson

35. “The secret of all effective advertising is not the creation of new and tricky words and pictures, but one of putting familiar words and pictures into new relationships.” Leo Burnett

36. “Copy is not written. If anyone tells you ‘you write copy’, sneer at them. Copy is not written. Copy is assembled. You do not write copy, you assemble it. You are working with a series of building blocks, you are putting the building blocks together, and then you are putting them in certain structures, you are building a little city of desire for your person to come and live in.” Eugene Schwartz

37.  “The vast majority of products are sold because of the need for love, the fear of shame, the pride of achievement, the drive for recognition, the yearning to feel important, the urge to look attractive, the lust for power, the longing for romance, the need to feel secure, the terror of facing the unknown, the lifelong hunger for self-esteem and so on. Emotions are the fire of human motivation, the combustible force that secretly drives most decisions to buy. When your marketing harnesses those forces correctly you will generate explosive increases in response.” Gary Bencivenga

38. “To impress your offer on the mind of the reader or listener, it is necessary to put it into brief, simple language…No farfetched or obscure statement will stop them. You have got to hit them where they live in the heart or in the head. You have got to catch their eyes or ears with something simple, something direct, something they want.” John Caples 

Do you have a quote that inspires you?

 

 

 

Get Paid to Write Articles

Get paid to Write Articles & Make Money

Courtesy of Greenleaddesigns/freeditigalphotos.net

One of my favorite places to hang out online is in my various writing groups on Linkedin.com. One of the reasons is that there is never a shortage of great information being shared.  This week a member of one of the copywriting groups I belong to shared the following list which I think is perfect for new freelance copywriters and for those writers who are simply looking for a bit of cash flow. It’s a list of places online that pay writers for article submissions and tutorial contributions.  Take a look:

Crazy Leaf (Web Design Blog)

This web design blog accepts contributions on the following topics: tutorials, graphic design, web design, Flash, Photoshop, vectorial graphics, design inspiration, programming, print design, design resources, photography or just a “Top 10″ article.  Your article should be a minimum of 500 words and should include two images. Their pay rate depends on the length of your article as well as the quality.

Developer Tutorials (Cutting Edge Programming and Design)

If you are a writer who can create unique, high quality tutorials and list-based articles for web design, Developer Tutorials is the place for you! Their payments range from: $50-$100 per tutorial and $30-$50 for each list-based article.  If you submit a tutorial, it must be at least 1000 words and has to include illustrations.  A list-based article must target web developers or designers. They must include a solid description of each item in the list and screenshots or graphics when applicable. You will more than likely need a PayPal account, since they use PayPal  as their method of payment.

Dollar Stretcher (Living Better for Less)

Many writers are blessed with the gift of being financially savvy and good money managers.  If this sounds like you, then Dollar Stretcher is definitely a site you’ll want to check out. They are looking for articles that provide their readers with tips to save time and money. Payment is at the rate of $0.10 per published word.  Each article must be in the 500 to 700-word range.

Drop Zone (Skydiving Content)

Do you skydive?  Well then, you’re in luck. Drop Zone is looking for skydiving-related articles, including, general information pieces, reviews, event articles, press releases and photographic reports.  Writers must contact Drop Zone by email at editor@dropzone.com to discuss compensation.

Metroparent (Local Stories of Interest to Local Parents – SouthEast Michigan Moms)

Are you a mom, dad or have a child-related background or experience?  Check out Metroparent. They love well-written articles related to parenting.

Their payment structure is as follows:

Features 1,000-2,500 words: $150-$350, depending on complexity of topic and number of sources required to do the story justice;
Department columns: $50-75;
Parent Pipeline pieces: $35-50; and
Reprints: $35

Payment is upon publication.

Net Tuts (Web Developer and Web Designer Tutorials and Articles)

Yes, there are writers out there who are also techies.  And lucky for those of you who are:  Net Tuts wants extensive tutorials and/or screencasts on the following topics:

  • Javascript techniques
  • HTML / CSS techniques
  • jQuery or similar libraries
  • CMS’s – WordPress, Expression Engine, Joomla, etc.
  • Simpler PHP & Rails techniques

They also use PayPal, and the rate depends on the type of tutorial you submit.  Rumor has it, they pay $50.

PSD Tuts (Photoshop Tutorial Blog)

Do you like talking about photoshop?  This site wants tutorials or content that photoshop enthusiasts enjoy.  Send your tutorial or content to PSD Tuts, and get your contribution published.  You will be paid an agreed USD rate for each item published. They also accept offers, so, by all means, make one! They pay via PayPal or Moneybookers and, better still, they pay within the first week of the month following publication.

Rock Solid Finance (Strategy and Finance for Entrepreneurs)

Looking for another financial-related blog?   Well, here it is. Rock Solid Finance focuses on  corporate finance, fundraising and growth strategies.   If you enjoy teaching people to “make, measure and monitor” the money in their business, submit an article to Rock Solid Finance.  They make offers of either fifty bucks or two contextual backlinks.

SpyreStudios (Design Blog)

Depending on the type and the quality of your blog post, you can get $50 to $160 writing articles for the SpyreStudios web design blog.  That is, of course, if you like writing about typography, design trends, inspiration, CSS, HTML, WordPress, jQuery, minimalism and that sort of stuff.  This site is great for tutorials, posts/articles and how-to’s. And SpyreStudios uses PayPal.

WorldStart (Computer Tips)

Are you a computer aficionado?  WorldStart is for writers who are able to provide tips to their email subscribers about . . . yes, computers.  Payment depends on the quality of your article, its length, and the usefulness of the tip or topic.

Approximately 250 words-$25
Approximately 400 words-$40
Approximately 600 words-$45
Maximum length is approximately 800 words-$50

They use PayPal.

Writers Weekly (Blogging About Making Money from Writing)

Do you want to write about selling the written word?  In other words, are you interested in making money writing?  If you’ve read this far, you are.  Submit your 600-word article to Writers Weekly.

Writers Weekly pays $60 for non-exclusive electronic rights for your submission. For freelance success stories (approximately 300 words), they pay in the neighborhood of $40.   E-mail your query to angela (at) writersweekly.com.

In addition to getting paid to write, you can use this opportunity as a great marketing method, because these sites, which have many subscribers, allow you to include a link back to your website.

Final Note: Please contact the site owners first before submitting your articles, because most of the sites ask for a pitch before accepting your contribution.

Happy Writing,

Stacey

 

 

 

We have Top-Copywriter to thank for this score!

10 Places to Look When Your SEO Skill Set Needs a Tune-Up

SEO Basics

As copywriters, we all know that SEO is integral in positioning your clients’ companies as industry leaders. This requires us to stay on top of the most recent developments in SEO
techniques.

The following list is by no means exhaustive, but following these thought leaders will certainly keep you in-the-know.

Search Engine Land

Distilled

Hubspot

Marketing Experiments

Marketing Land

Matt Cutts

SEO.com

Search Engine Watch

Search Engine Journal

Search Engine Roundtable

To ensure your clients get found and maintain an edge, copywriters must embrace SEO.

22 Ways to Create Compelling Content

Even the most talented writers have trouble every once in a while coming up with fresh topics to discuss.  Our friends over at copyblogger.com graciously allowed us to share this infographic with our readers.  It provides 22 ideas for creating compelling content. Enjoy!
22 Ways to Create Compelling Content - Infographic
Like this infographic? Get more content marketing tips from Copyblogger.

Hey Copywriters . . . Connect with the Folks Reading Your Copy – – Be Real. Be Personal. Be You.

 

Two Friends Talking

Image courtesy of Aleska D FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Your level of writing success has a lot to do with how your readers react to your copy.  People connect with the product or service because they relate to what you’re saying to them.  They want to feel that your copy is specifically crafted with their interests and needs in mind.  In other words, it should feel personal. Following are three ways to help your readers identify  and connect with your message:

1. Before You Write, Get to Know Yourself First.

When you understand who you are,  your writing is more inclined to genuinely fuse with the product’s message. When you are an unsure writer, it’s harder to trust your own belief in the message you are writing about the product. You can create a stronger and more compelling message if you start with you first, then tackle the project.  It’s easier to bring out the brand when you know yourself. Your confidence comes through your writing making your copy more engaging because your insecurities aren’t getting in the way of the flow of the message.

2. Don’t Be Something You’re Not. Be You.

Many writers make the mistake of trying to be something or someone they admire.  It’s okay if someone’s influence shows through your writing. However, because it’s not your authentic voice, when writers blatantly and repeatedly attempt to mimic the voice of another, it sounds scripted and unnatural.

Every writer has his or her own signature rhythm, traits and mannerisms.  Yes, that includes you.  Find and leverage your own self-expression.  Success is easier to repeat when you already own its source and it’s not borrowed from somebody else. I’ll add that, in the quest to find your own voice, it’s okay to emulate someone you admire when you start out, but don’t try to be them.

3. Speak to Your Readers Through Your Writing

Imagine that your reader is a personal friend of yours and that you are engaged in a real conversation. What would you tell her about the product or service?  Explain its benefits in the same way do when you are trying to convince a reasonably intelligent friend to make a purchase of a particular item. You want the flow of information to feel and sound real.

Know their problem. Empathize with them. What are they likely to be thinking. What are they likely to want or need from this product or service. Find that hook.

I’m sure you have a checklist of your own and you’re ahead of the game if you do.  But, if you don’t, once your copy is written, at the very least, before turning it in, check to see that you’ve got these three keys covered.

Stacey

Here’s A Copywriter’s Quickie: 25 UnSung, But Important Copywriting Tips All Copywriters Can Use

Working Woman Having Tea

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Most copywriters, even newbies, know there are fundamental rules when you sit down to write copy, like – use headlines, include benefits and remember to add a P.S.

 

Below are some other rules (borrowed from that magnanimous message board – Warrior Forum) that veteran copywriters routinely include in their copy:

  1. Any big statements you make must be backed up by proof or credibility.
  2. Include as many (well-written) testimonials and case studies as you can.
  3. Explain why you’re making the offer.
  4. Give the reader multiple chances to take action.
  5. Find out how the target market talks to each other - then use their language.
  6. Address all potential objections.
  7. The goal of the first few lines is ONLY to get the reader to read the next line, then the next, then the next, then the… etc.
  8. Decide on exactly what you want the reader to do and slowly guide them towards it.
  9. Use emotional words as often as you can.
  10. Tell seductive stories throughout the copy.
  11. Get the reader to nod “yes” to your copy, especially at the
    beginning.
  12. Use supporting images, not attention grabbing images (the focus should be on the content, not the images)
  13. Keep sales page narrow and not too wide.
  14. Don’t concentrate on keywords only, and apply them where they BEST fit. Fit the keywords into the copy, not the copy into the keywords.
  15. After it’s all over and done with, ask yourself, “so what?”
  16. Create a buyers environment.
  17. Use good justification techniques, especially if a higher priced item, product or service.
  18. Make the first sentence extremely short.
  19. Anticipate questions in advance and answer them directly.
  20. Create gravity pulling, slippery sales copy that virtually compels the reader to slide right into the direct call to action…
  21. No. Humor does not sell.
  22. Johnson boxes. Use them.
  23. Always give away as many bonuses as you can. People will often buy just for these.
  24. Try using “action elements” like check boxes, fields, and text area’s for the user to take part in the sales letter.
  25. No yellow on white or black on dark grey text. You must have contrast to be able to read text.

So, did you run your copy through this list?  Now, do you still need help?  Then put on your thick skin (‘cause you’re going to need it) and pop on over to warriorforum.com for a critique of your copywriting piece.

Good luck!